Celebrity Cruises vs Viking Cruises

Compare ships, pricing, destinations, onboard facilities and shore excursions between Celebrity Cruises and Viking Cruises.

Celebrity Cruises   vs   Viking Cruises

The Low Down

Celebrity Cruises Viking Cruises
Where do they cruise?
What type of ships do they have?
Large, Mega and Expedition Ships
Mid-Size & Expedition Ships
How many passengers are on board?
Classic: 2,107 - 3046 / Expedition: 48 - 100
930 & 378
What type of cruise line are they?
Premium
Premium
What are they known for?
  • The first cruise line to have a ½ acre real lawn at sea
  • Dining curated by Michelin-starred Chefs
  • The largest and rarest wine collection at sea
  • The Magic Carpet on Celebrity Edge & Celebrity Apex
  • No Casinos
  • No Children
  • The Thinking Person’s Cruise
What is the average cost per day?
  • Interior: $235
  • Oceanview: $268
  • Balcony: $343
  • Suite: $979
  • Balcony : $757
  • Suite: $1,293
Are fares all inclusive?
No
Viking position themselves as an all-inclusive line, however, house beers and wine are only included at mealtimes (premium beverages are at additional cost) and there are optional paid excursions as well as included experiences.
Are gratuities included?
Yes
Yes, for Australian and New Zealand Passengers.
Are there any additional gratuities payable on board?
Yes. 18% gratuity added for beverage purchases, mini bar items, spa and salon services.
No. Only at guest discretion.
Can I get any reciprocal loyalty club benefits?
Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Azamara offer reciprocal benefits to members enrolled in their loyalty programs.
No. The Viking Explorer Society offers credit and referral rewards to past passengers of Viking Cruises only.
What is the onboard currency?
USD
USD
What language is spoken on board?
English
English
Who cruises with them?
  • Primarily couples & solos
  • Food and wine connoisseurs
  • Travellers who enjoy modern luxury settings
  • Primarily couples & solos
  • Retired and semi-retired
  • World travellers
What is the average passenger age?
Primarily 40+
Primarily 50+
Are they good for families?
Children are accepted from 6+ months (12+ months on select cruises) and there are dedicated programs and facilities available for children.
No. No children under 18 years of age.
Are there children’s programs?
Camp at Sea is Celebrity’s children’s program. There are activities for four different age groups supervised by experienced youth staff members. The program changes regularly keeping it fresh. Celebrity Equinox also offers STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) & art classes. Celebrity also offers a program for children on the autism spectrum. Services are not available on Expedition ships.
No
Is there childcare and/or babysitting?
Yes. Group babysitting is available on the contemporary ships through the Celebrity Youth Program for ages 3-12 years including afternoon parties on port days and late night slumber parties in the evening. Children must be toilet trained. Private baby sitting at cost is available for suite level guests only. Services are not available on expedition ships.
No
What are the accommodation options?
Interior, Oceanview, Balcony & Suites. Studios available for solo travellers.
  • Mid-Sized Ships: Balcony Staterooms & Suites.
  • Expedition Ships: Nordic Balcony Staterooms & Suites.
Are there accessible staterooms?
Yes
Yes
Are shore excursions included?
  • Classic Cruises: No
  • Expedition Cruises: Yes
  • Classic Cruises: One included excursion is offered at every port and optional excursions are available for purchase.
  • Expedition Cruises: A minimum of one shore excursion per landing day is included; there may be two on some days. On some expeditions, there may also be optional excursions available for purchase.
What types of onboard activities are available for free?
Enrichment programs such as guest lectures and some onboard classes. Art classes and technologies classes are available on select ships.
  • Classic Cruises: Enrichment programs such as guest, historian and port lectures, onboard cooking demonstrations, local performers in destination, exclusive access filmed opera performances and Ted Talks.
  • Expedition Cruises: Activities such as lectures, film screenings, presentations and daily briefings from the expedition team as well as scientific programs hosted in The Laboratory.
Are there any onboard activities that I need to pay for?
Yes. Charges apply for a range of activities such as glass blowing and mixology classes.
Yes. Experiences such as The Kitchen Table (excursion and onboard cooking class) will incur additional charges.
Is there free evening entertainment?
Yes
Yes
Is there any paid evening entertainment?
Yes. Occasionally special entertainment may incur additional charges.
No
Are there complimentary dining options?
Yes
Yes
Are there specialty restaurants?
Yes. Charges apply.
Yes. Complimentary.
Are there dining packages for purchase?
Yes
No
Are non-alcoholic beverages included?
Yes. Juice, water, tea, and coffee are available at stations across the ship and select soft drinks at meals..
Yes. Purified water is provided in all staterooms. Soft drinks are included with lunches and dinners onboard. Specialty coffees and assorted hot teas are available 24 hours a day.
Are alcoholic beverages included?
  • Classic Cruises: No
  • Expedition Cruises: Yes
Complimentary house wines and beers are served with lunches and dinners on board.
Can I purchase a beverage package?
Yes. A range of drinks packages are available to purchase, and a Classic beverage package can be chosen as a perk in the Sail Your Way promotion.
Yes. For premium cocktails or wines and spirits, Viking offers the Silver Spirits beverage package.
Is there room service?
Yes. Available 24/7. A late night fee applies.
Yes. Complimentary 24/7.
Is there Wi-Fi on board?
Yes. Charges apply unless it is selected as a perk in the Celebrity Sail Your Way promotion.
Yes. Complimentary.
Can I purchase Wi-Fi packages?
Yes
No
Is there a Spa?
Yes. Expedition ships offer smaller spa facilities.
Yes. Access is complimentary.
Are spa and salon services available?
Yes. Charges Apply.
Yes. Charges Apply.
Is there a gym?
Yes. Expedition ships will have smaller fitness rooms.
Yes
Are there group fitness classes?
Yes. Included complimentary. Some specialised training programs may incur additional charges.
Yes. Specialised classes such as yoga may attract a charge. Classes may include; yoga, Zumba, TRX, and Body Conditioning. There may be less services available on expedition ships.
Is there personal training available?
Yes, on classic cruise ships. Charges apply.
Yes, on classic ocean cruises. Charges apply.
Is there a self-service laundry?
No.
Yes. Complimentary.
Is a laundry service available?
Yes. Charges Apply.
Yes. Charges Apply.
Is there a casino on board?
Yes. Except on expedition ships.
No

Please note there may be additional inclusions and privileges for select stateroom and suite guests or select loyalty member tiers. Activities and entertainment vary by ship, itinerary and departure and are a guide only.

The Verdict

Is Celebrity or Viking better value?

On face value a Viking cruise is generally more expensive than a similar cruise on Celebrity, however the fares are mostly all inclusive and the lead in (lowest price) stateroom is a balcony cabin with a private veranda. Viking holds a few promotions annually, such as the Explorer sale, which run for a few months at a time, offering savings and value add ons. If you get in early, you can take advantage of discounted business class flights, companion fly free or free port extensions. Viking provides a premium cruising experience at an attainable price point.

Called an all-inclusive price by Viking, this means that many of the items you have to pay extra for on other cruise lines such as Celebrity, are included in your fare. On a Viking cruise your fare includes a free excursion in every port, all onboard meals and snacks, tea and specialty coffee, beer, wine and soft drinks served with meals, Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, access to the full Nordic-themed spa facility and 24-hour room service. What’s not included is premium wines, spirits and cocktails (and for these you can purchase the Silver Spirits Beverage Package for USD$20 per person per day); treatments you might book in the spa and salon, and optional excursions if you want to dig deeper in destination than the complimentary tours offer.

When you cruise with Celebrity you will pay a base price and then add on for-fee extras on top of the fare. You fare includes your accommodation and complimentary dining, some soft drinks, tea and coffee and most onboard activities and entertainment but you will need to pay for specialty dining, alcohol and some other beverages, onshore excursions, room service charges after 11pm and Wi-Fi packages.

Often you can add the features that Viking include as standard onto a Celebrity stateroom fare (beverage package, a specialty dining package, Wi-Fi package and shore excursions) and your total price may come out similar to a Viking balcony fare. This will really come down to which itineraries you are comparing, and what specials each line is running at the time.

Celebrity often runs promotions such as their rolling Sail Your Way offer which may provide savings, a choice of free perks including onboard credit, beverage packages and Wi-Fi, all of which will alleviate some onboard expenditure if you book a promotional fare. Consider these tiered fares, as well as other promotional offers, when you are weighing up which line is the best value for you.

 

 

Which ships will suit me best?

It goes without saying that if you want to travel with children under 18 years of age or like casinos then Viking is not for you. There are no casinos on onboard their ships and they don’t accept children under 18 years on their ocean cruises.

Viking ships are the newer of the two fleets, the oldest ship, Viking Star launched in 2015. All follow the same design and the same services are offered across the fleet. Offering only balcony staterooms and suites, each ship boasts a private veranda in every stateroom, has an infinity pool at the stern and spacious relaxing public areas. You will be surrounded by an understated, sophisticated Scandinavian ambience. Each ships’ capacity is 930 passengers. Onboard a Viking cruise you will find couples and solos (albeit there are no solo staterooms), who are globally minded travellers.

Celebrity’s classic cruise ships range from 2000 – 3000 passengers and they primarily attract couples and solo travellers seeking quality food and wine experiences and a more sophisticated cruising experience than their sister line Royal Caribbean. Celebrity are family friendly, offer children and teen programs and each classic cruising ship has a casino and other onboard attractions and events (which differ by ship class) that you won’t find on a Viking ship. While their ships are older the Celebrity Revolution 500 million dollar refurbishment program is re-imaging each ship in the fleet with cutting edge facilities and amenities.

 

Scandinavian Muted Elegance v Modern Sophistication

Discover the quiet alcoves and elegant large public areas with muted colours that define the Viking ship experience. From the Explorer’s Lounge at the front of the ship with its library and telescope, to the Wintergarden next to the outdoor area, Viking’s ships are designed to facilitate a relaxing ambience for their guests.

Celebrity Cruises offers a diverse range of ships across the fleet, divided into four classes – the Edge Class, Solstice Class, Millennium Class and Expedition Class. Celebrity ships offer upmarket or modern sophisticated décor. Bringing a range of contemporary cruise innovations to their fleet, Celebrity Solstice ships have the 1/2 acre of real lawn where guests can relax, play bocce and (at cost) rent a cabana or watch a jazz concert. The Edge Class ships have the Magic Carpet, cantilevered to the side of the ship and operating as a restaurant, bar and destination gateway for tenders. It’s a different onboard experience on these ships also though equally you will find ambient indoor and outdoor public areas to relax in.

 

Food and Drink

Across their ships, Celebrity Cruises offers a greater range of complimentary and specialty dining, which incurs a cover charge. Celebrity takes the edge on international cuisine and they offer sophisticated menus curated by chefs with Michelin-starred resumes. Japanese, Italian and French fine dining in elegant and sophisticated settings is a Celebrity hallmark.

Viking offers the same restaurants on each of its ships and all dining is complimentary. There are no extra fees for any restaurant but there may be reservation limitations for non-suite guests for Manfredi’s – the popular fine dining Italian restaurant. On Viking anything you’ll eat onboard including the afternoon teas, specialty coffee and tea stations is complimentary. Offering quality destination focussed menus, Viking’s dining options are highly regarded by guests.

On both cruise lines there is a mix of sophisticated and casual dining. Viking claim to have the most al fresco dining at sea and Celebrity claim the largest collection of wine at sea.

On Viking ships, you could get away with not purchasing a beverage package, with their included beverages with meals and relaxed policy on allowing passengers to bring alcohol onboard from ports, which can be consumed anywhere on the ship with no corkage fee charged.

Celebrity offers several non-alcoholic and alcoholic packages, the Classic Package for alcohol starting at USD$59 per person per day with the most expensive being USD$85 per person day. If you like your cocktails, spirits and premium wines you will want to purchase a beverage package.

 

Luxurious Spa Experiences

Both cruise lines offer upmarket, luxurious spa experiences. Drawing upon Scandinavian traditions and preferences, the Viking spa includes a sauna, steam room, therapeutic pool and a snow room (with actual snow) where you can recover from the hot steam or sauna experiences. This spa area is relaxing and is complimentary for all guests to enjoy. Celebrity offers an incredible eight experience thermal suite on Celebrity Edge at cost, except for Aqua Class Suite guests for whom the service is complimentary. On both cruise lines treatments come at a separate cost.

 

Entertainment

If you like to be entertained with large scale productions Celebrity is the cruise line to consider. All ships offer bespoke live shows, music, nightlife, film and dinner experiences.

If large scale productions don’t rock your boat (pun intended) and you prefer watching exclusive filmed opera performances or TED talks, listening to destination focussed lecturers from historians and other such experts then Viking offers these as a hallmark of their cruising experience. Similar experiences are more likely to be found on one of Celebrity’s expedition ships than their classic cruise ships.

 

 

Who has the right itinerary and shore program for me?

Celebrity has more ships and therefore offers a greater number of itineraries than Viking. If you are seeking a longer voyage Viking offers Grand Voyages and Worldwide Cruises.

With two Expedition ships, Celebrity offers expedition cruises of the Galapagos on Celebrity Flora and Celebrity Xpedition; while Viking will commence expedition cruising in the polar regions on two new expedition ships in 2022.

While it’s not the case for all their voyages, Celebrity Cruises offers more round trip journeys, starting and finishing in the same port whereas Viking itineraries tend to start and finish in different ports, except on a handful of voyages. For example, an itinerary with Celebrity to the Norwegian Fjords will generally start and finish in the same port, be that London or Amsterdam. Viking itineraries will, in all but a handful of cases, start in one port and finish in another, such as starting in London and finishing in Bergen, Norway. This is noteworthy for travel plans or tours you might take to complement your cruise experience.

 

Excursions

On a Celebrity Cruise you will pay for all shore excursions. Choices include Celebrity Discoveries, culturally focussed trips and Chef Market Discoveries that include culinary excursions with the ship’s chef to uncover local flavours and then return back to the ship to witness a cooking demonstration from the morning’s purchases. Adventurers can choose to join adventure focussed excursions curated by English adventurer Ben Fogle. Evening tours for special dining or performance experiences can also be booked in select ports. Celebrity offer a selection of small group tours for up to 24 guests.

Viking offer a free excursion in each port with additional excursions offered to purchase. The free excursions lean toward city walking tours or bus tours to give guests an overview of the destination. Their range of paid, destination focussed excursions are organised into three categories – Local life, excursions that reveal the rhythms of daily living; Working World, glimpsing the local artisans and producers at work and Privileged Access that offers Viking guest exclusive access to cultural treasures and performances. You will spend more time in port, with overnight stays in virtually all ports of embarkation and disembarkation.